Yes, I've been quiet on the blogging front, I have my own qualms and issues with the current administration, but this issue has me a bit puzzled. I guess I can see some of the concern that parents may have with the President addressing their children, but there is quite a bit of paranoia involved.
On Tuesday, President Obama intends to give a short address to schoolchildren to stay in school and take responsibility for their education. There was some valid concern over the outline given to schools to accompany the speech from the Department of Education such as "writing letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President."
Help the President, huh? Specifically the President, as opposed, say, the Country. I'm thinking JFK and his infamous 'ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country' in regards to more appropriate terminology, but that has been rewritten to ask students how they can achieve their short term and longterm education goals instead. Well, that's more appropriate still, let's see if he can hold to that.
That point aside, if I had children attending school at this time, I would not object to them being addressed to by the President of the United States. He is, after all, the President and despite some policy objections, can offer up some areas of being a role model, especially to inner city at risk teens who can view Obama's success as something to emulate. There is a stigma within the black community especially that a youth who chooses to do well in school and get good grades is accused of acting 'white', and in this regard, Obama is a very positive role model to such a target demographic. As long as his speech remains apolitical and speaks directly to kids to remain in school and seek to further educate themselves, which is a positive message, I have no problem with it and in fact highly agree with that message.
I understand how the growing concern some people are having over Obama and his radicalized ways, especially with his growing number of questionable Czar's among other issues that are prevailent within this administration that make me question the President's intentions, however in this point, I think perhaps he might be seeking to do something positive to help clear up his image perhaps, and if he stays on message, I have no problem with him speaking to the youth. If he veers off message and starts talking about ways to specifically help him achieve his policy goals, then I would have a problem with this. But until then, well, if the intention of his speech is to encourage kids to take responsibility for their education, that is something I can agree with.
So let's wait to hear the speech on Tuesday. If it turns out to be anything other then what it has been advertised to be, then by all means cry foul. But if it is only a simple message telling kids to stay in school, the right will look like a lunatic fringe out to get the President kind of like the Left was out to get Bush. In this regard, I say let's take a step back and make sure we aren't jumping the gun here. Obama has made some fumbles, true, but perhaps this never was one of them?
Who knows, he may have something worth saying.
UPDATE: The transcript of the speech has been released in full, and of course it is pretty harmless. . . now. No way of really knowing if this was the original speech or if it was watered down after the outcry amongst parents to appear apolitical. Of course, a lot of people have commented about how much Obama seems to refer to himself, in this speech 56 TIMES!.
He makes it all about him. I don't think Obama can really resist.
Exit question: how many kids, especially kindergartners, will stay focused while he talks? That seems to be a pretty broad demographic to capture the attention of, speaking down to elementary school aged kids while trying not to insult the intelligence of high school teenagers.
I skimmed through the speech myself, didn't really notice anything jump out at me as dangerous and indoctrinating of young impressionable minds, hopefully it serves its purpose and encourages kids to take charge of their own educations.
Hmm, perhaps something I can agree with Obama on for once?